The Riddle of the Vampire Duck

Take a look at this: “What if Trump Supporters Love Chaos As Much As He Does?” by Ed Kilgore in Intelligencer.  This article attempts to answer the BIG question of why Trump’s supporters stick with him with such fervor.  Great question, but somehow “addiction to chaos” does not seem to be the answer. 

How about racism?  How about not being fully informed?  How about antagonism to all government programs because they take money in the form of taxes?   How about there not being one explanation, but many such as tax breaks for the rich, which the rich like, or a good economy or a hatred of Democrats or a hatred of socialists or racism or a lack of informing oneself or all of the above?

by O Society September 5, 2019

The above question(s) was sent in by one of our O Society people. We’re going to answer it definitively here in this very essay because really this is the primary puzzle to perplex and profundify many pundits and perfectly ordinary people the last few years.

This question seemingly can take many forms, but unwrap it naked as the day is long and basically it boils down to observing the Trump phenomenon and admitting out loud to yourself, “I just don’t get it.”

So we start here. Admit to yourself, “I just don’t get it.”


The Riddler


Pick the version you remember from ^ the lineup ^ above.

Personally, I’m going with the cartoon Riddler.

It’s as if an old villain from Batman called the Riddler  suddenly appeared and dropped it on us…

“Riddle me this: How can so many people fall for an ’80s conman famous for his bad hair and a bunch of loot, who everyone agrees is an absolute asshole?”

It’s counterintuitive, right? No one ever said Donald Trump is a good guy or a nice guy or is going to help people, did they?

No, they did not. Even Trump’s most deluded fanboy minions never once thought Trump is here to help them. He isn’t. He’s here to help himself. Trump is a villain straight out of a comic book – just as the Riddler is – and everybody knows it.

Trump’s in it for the Trump, the whole Trump, and nothing but the Trump.

So why in the jumpin’ green Jehoshaphat would anyone follow this guy, Batman?

“It’s a mystery. Broken into a jigsaw puzzle. Wrapped in a conundrum. Hidden in a Chinese box. A riddle.”

~ The Riddler


Guess ^ this ^ is what the Riddler looks like these days. His daughter’s an Enigma, even. Or as Winston Churchill is supposed to have said

“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

And so it is with Trump, except instead of Russian national interest, our key is self interest. As in Trump’s self interest is the only thing Trump is interested in talking about or paying attention to in any way for any length of time. Seriously. Can you imagine Donald Trump reading a book in which the main character is anyone but Donald Trump?

No. Of course you can’t. No one can. 

This is our principle. Keep this in mind. It is this simple. No one is too stupid to understand the Donald Trump phenomenon, but there certainly are people who are too smart to “get it.” That’s the joke. I “get” the joke; I just don’t think it’s funny.

So we go back a couple paragraphs, when we said out loud “I just don’t get it” and realize this is a sign of being intelligent. In other words, we search for meaning where really there is none… or at least not much meaning. Then we go back to the beginning, and sign “Intelligencer” to it to make it sound legit or learned or academic or informed or something… but it isn’t.

What does this mean?

Back in the day, I did an internship at a hospital. A children’s hospital. And the physician-scientist guy who supervised me – we’ll call him Mr. Rogers – was an excellent teacher about the real world. You see, at that point I had what, almost a decade of college classes under my belt and thought I knew a lot of stuff. And maybe I did. Knew some stuff. Book learning.

But the thing Mr. Rogers knew I didn’t know is the real world. And in the real world, there are kids. And kids ask questions. And most of them aren’t stupid. Most of them are hard. Here are a couple of examples:

How do I know I’m real?

Why is a dinosaur real but a unicorn isn’t?

See what I mean? Now what Mr. Rogers told me is “if you can’t explain it to me like I’m a 6 year old, this means you don’t understand it well enough yourself.”


See, there we were at a children’s hospital trying to explain medical stuff like skeletal dysplasia and muscular dystrophy to kids and parents who have these medical conditions in a way they can understand. And it’s not easy.

Try it. Take something you think you understand, such as how bones grow or how muscles work and explain it to a six-year-old. First grade level. Then explain why their own muscles and bones and stuff doesn’t work. Mmm hmm…

So this is what we are going to do with the Trump phenomenon. Explain it so even a six year old can understand it. Use comic book and TV and movie trope examples. Answer the BIG question. Keep it real.

Keeping it Real 


^ This ^ is my daughter’s first grade math book. Seriously. It’s what she did in math today. This is the actual page from the actual book. I scanned it on the flatbed scanner thingamajig and here it is for everyone to see. Why?

Because it is our starting point. What’s going on here in Chapter Fourteen is this first grade math book is beginning to teach the kids about word problems. You see, word problems are this magic thing where the real world, we talk about it in words – letters mostly – and we turn it into math symbols, numbers and stuff.

Did you catch it?

What I said is we take the real world, describe it in words, then turn these words into numbers, and this is going to tell us all about the real world and how it works.

How this happens has mystified human beings for as long as we can remember. It’s incredibly important, this turning words into numbers bit, yet it’s also incredibly difficult to find someone who can explain exactly how the magic works in a way everyone can understand.

So a lot of people basically fake it. We act as if. As if we know. Fake it till we make it.

Here we’re going to look at what happens and look at it as if it is the most interesting thing in the world. Because it is. Especially to a six year old. And to the sixty year old. The difference is the six year old remains teachable.

Now, the fancy ivory tower people at the university want to talk all about syllogism and deduction.

Which looks like this:


And we do some magic stuff where we replace these words with math symbols, and it becomes this other thing.

First, we give each noun a letter

man is ( A )

mortal is ( B )

Socrates is ( C )

Second, we replace words such as “is” and “are” with an equals sign ( = )

Third, we draw a line to separate the premises from the conclusion to give us an answer.

A = B

C = A

———– here’s our line which means “therefore”

C = B

What? You were expecting sex and violence or something?

OK. Here’s some sex to keep everyone interested.

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction



Good. Because what just happened is enough philosophy to get us all in trouble for the foreseeable future. Why?

It’s first grade… so easy a cave man could do it!

Plucked Chicken

Because when we say A “man”  = B “mortal = “C” Socrates what have we learned?

Well, we’ve learned this man called Socrates is mortal, which means one day he’s going to die, which means, if you do the math, You and I, we’re all going to die.

Congratulations! You know philosophy now. You’re ready for your first existential crisis. Assuming you haven’t had one already.

A = B = C is tautology, isn’t it?

When we say the name Socrates, we know by how we define the words man and mortal these are Socrates. Are we simply defining words here? The definition of Socrates is he is a mortal man. What did you expect, a chicken?


“A featherless biped?” Diogenes says, “Behold Plato’s man!”

Perhaps what we have done is find three different words for the same one thing.

Perhaps what we have done is name a thing. Label it. Define a word by using other words, which is semantics. Semantics is the meaning of words. So is this then, what logic and philosophy and math really is? Tautology?

X = Y where X is a word and Y is a definition and all we have done is define a word by matching it with an agreed upon definition and our statement is true by definition because this is the way our conventionally agreed upon symbols jive with one another… and this is all?

Consider the Child


Little Golden Book of Words

conventioncon·ven·tion /kənˈven(t)SH(ə)n/ noun

1. a way in which something is usually done, especially within a particular area or activity. 
“the woman who overturned so many conventions of children’s literature”
2. an agreement between countries covering particular matters, especially one less formal than a treaty.
“a convention signed by the six states bordering on the Black Sea”

synonyms: agreement, accord, protocol, compact, pacttreaty, concordat, entente;

Moral of the story: Liars are not believed even when they speak the truth.

Here is the second essay in this series:

The Human Zoo

More will be revealed…



One thought on “The Riddle of the Vampire Duck

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s